people, many of whom may be surprised to discover how significant a
departure Sakaguchi’s latest endeavor is compared with the titles we
typically associate with his name.
Terra Battle is an upcoming strategy role-playing game for mobile and tablet devices, but it doesn’t bear much resemblance to Final Fantasy Tactics and the like. Actually, the battlefield looks more like a chessboard than anything, which Sakaguchi tells us is by design.
It takes inspiration from shogi,
a popular board game, otherwise known as Japanese chess and the
general’s game. One way of playing shogi involves capturing stones by
flanking them on both sides, a concept developer Mistwalker is
incorporating as the centerpiece of Terra Battle‘s combat system.
In order to attack enemies in Terra Battle, players will
need to make quick and purposeful finger-swipes to position their units
on the battlefield. However, since characters cannot fight alone,
players will need to bump into and corral their allies into formations
around monsters. That’s the only way to vanquish your foes and emerge
In some small way, Mistwalker is also taking notes from Puzzle & Dragons. Sakaguchi told us a story about how we went drinking one night with the team behind GungHo Online’s incredibly successful mobile game, and how it helped spur him to create Terra Battle.
Sakaguchi gleaned insights on how to build an experience for a
vertical screen from swapping stories with these folks. The
conversations helped him address challenges like how to condense a
rewarding experience into something easily enjoyed here and there while
on the go.
These types of problems seem to genuinely excite Sakaguchi, who
wishes to use his forays into the mobile world to explore new ideas in
the medium. Part of that involves a more fluid development process,
where, unlike console games, the developers can continue to add content
long after the game first ships.
Mistwalker is using a “download starter” model with Terra Battle,
which means the developer plans to add new content upon the achievement
of certain milestones. These upgrades include new music courtesy of
famed composer Nobuo Uematsu, co-op and versus battle modes, and even a
console game based on the world and characters in Terra Battle.
Mistwalker seems concerned with the stigma attached to mobile games, and hopes to ensure Terra Battle is not overly simplistic. Something we were more anxious about was how the developer plans to monetize the game. Terra Battle will be free-to-play and uses a stamina mechanic that limits the number of battles players can engage in quick succession.
Energy regenerates over time, but impatient players will always have
the option to pay. This shouldn’t be overly alarming, as the title is
designed to be played in short spurts, but it’s something to keep in
mind. Sakaguchi assured us players will never feel forced to part with
We were excited by what we saw of Terra Battle and are eager
to give this unique take on tactical role-playing games a try when it
arrives on iOS and Android devices this October.